I feel like middle Tennessee has had a very gloomy winter thus far. Lots of rain, no snow (which would at least make the gloominess fun), and warm temps that take the coziness out of the days holed up in the house. I’ve noticed the less than ideal conditions more this year as I have the subtle reminder of my 19 month old who will yell for her shoes and hat and then press her little face against the back door and yell “side!” over and over.

We had a reprieve a couple of weekends ago with two days in the mid sixties and lots of sunshine. Of course we got as much “side” time as we could muster and it’s then that I realized how good it felt to be in the sunshine again and how this time of the year really does take its toll on our moods and energy levels.

Before I go on: “SAD” is short for seasonal affective disorder and is a type of depression that can set in during this time of year. Symptoms can include a daily feeling of depression, low energy, difficulty sleeping, and weight loss or gain. While I can say with 100% certainty that I do not suffer from this, it’s a real thing and you should always pay attention to any symptoms and know when to see a doctor. Read more from someone who actually knows something here.

What many of us experience is much more subtle and I will call it the “blahs”. A basic loathing of the shorter days and sitting on ready for the sunshine to gleam out as if it’s a rare breed of unicorn. My recommendations are to fight the winter blahs and not anything more serious.

  • Get outside when you can. It may not be the picture perfect day that you’re craving, but if it’s not raining or below 40 degrees, then get your vitamin deficient self outside for at least twenty minutes. There’s still some rays coming through those clouds and it will suffice until a better chance comes along.
  • Go to a tanning bed. Haha 1999 called and wants its bad habit back. No…. just no.
  • Bring in some fresh flowers. I would love to have fresh flowers brought into my house weekly and placed in every room (said no one working on their debt snowball ever). Flowers are beautiful, but they’re a splurge for us right now. When I do buy them, I try to be very strategic in where I place them so they are in an optimum viewing spot. I also try to get ones that will last as long as possible. Tim recently brought me some carnations from Sam’s that lasted over two weeks!
  • Take your vitamins. I am no dietitian or doctor, so make sure you consult to see what’s right for you. I can tell a huge difference in my energy levels and mood when taking my supplements regularly. I take doTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality and will likely never go back to my life without them. You can read more about why here.
  • Use Aromatherapy. Speaking of doTERRA, I diffuse oils literally all day long. I’ve been going back and forth with OnGuard (good for seasonal support this time of year) and a “happy” blend of two to three drops of Balance and two drops of Grapefruit. I also put two drops of Frankincense under my tongue each morning. It helps me feel more balanced and at ease over all. Scent can go a long way to improve your mood, so don’t underestimate this option. Learn more about these oils and why I use them here.
  • Exercise. Exercise makes us happy *insert Elle Woods’ voice here. It can be hard on a cold dark morning or evening to get motivated, but I almost always feel better after even just a 15 minute session.
  • Make things cozy. I am a firm believer that a warm, inviting space can change your mood. Don’t let the winter spirit fade with the holidays. Crank up the ambiance with some cozy throw pillows, blankets, and flameless candles. Turn on that fire and put something that smells yummy in the crockpot for dinner. Overhead lighting is harsh, so I typically only use lamps for a more relaxing glow.
  • Let the sunshine (err….bright gray light) in. I not only open the blinds every day, but actually raise them to let every bit of that gloomy cloudy light in.

I think everyone enjoys the winter weather up until January first. Once the holidays are over, the cold just becomes dreary and everyone’s ready for spring. Luckily if you live within a 200 mile radius of me, spring will be here soon enough… and then that “lovely” southern humidity will follow! My goal is to use the above tips and soak up this cooler weather while we have it.

What are your tips for powering through these post-holiday winter blues??

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Top Photo Credit: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Film